World Cup stars mostly stifled, with 1 Portuguese exception

by Leon Thompson June 22, 2018, 2:25
World Cup stars mostly stifled, with 1 Portuguese exception

Argentina, which has not missed the second round since failing to qualify for the 1970 World Cup, has not been eliminated.

Messi is bearing the weight of expectations as Argentina seek a first World Cup trophy since 1986, desperate to crown his glittering career with a major worldwide tournament success. Lionel Messi and company were shocked and destroyed by Croatia, 3-0, thanks to goals from Ante Rebi, Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic.

Russian Federation are celebrating after Wednesday's results confirmed they have qualified for the knockout round for the first time since the Soviet era along with Uruguay, condemning Mohamed Salah's Egypt and Saudi Arabia to an early exit. France and Croatia became the third and fourth teams, respectively to reach the knockout stage.

"Argentina only have a Plan A, they lack a Plan B and a Plan C. Plan A is to give the ball to Messi, close their eyes and hope for the best".

Didier Deschamps' team was outplayed by Peru but managed a 1-0 win thanks to a history-making goal from Kylian Mbappe.

In their first game they drew 1-1 with Iceland with Lionel Messi missing the chance to win the game from the penalty spot in the second half.

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"But it's just not working out for him internationally", said Guillermo Aguirre, strolling round Nizhny Novgorod as Argentine fans began to arrive for Thursday's game against Croatia.

Sampaoli surprisingly announced his team to face Iceland at a news conference 24 hours before that fixture, before claiming the move was not a sign of disrespect towards the Group D debutants. A win gives Iceland four total points, which Argentina can only match.

"Every Argentinian is free to have the opinion they want".

Messi needs his team-mates to put their heads above the parapet, especially when things are not going Argentina's way, and take some of the pressure and weight off his shoulders.

France, who edged past Australia 2-1 courtesy of an Antoine Griezmann penalty and an own goal in their Group C opener, vowed to ramp up the intensity against Peru in Yekaterinburg.

Australia's equalizer in the 38th minute came 31 minutes after Denmark opened the scoring with a gorgeous goal by Christian Eriksen.

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